PARKERSBURG – Explore the New Manufacturing has announced the completion of a manufacturing innovation challenge involving Integrated Manufacturing Technology students from Wood County Technical Center and Micro Machine Works Inc.
The students’ project was to automate and update a pill dye cleaner to be pharmaceutical grade and user friendly. The challenge is hosted by Explore the New Manufacturing, an educational outreach program designed to provide middle and high school students in West Virginia with topics focused on career paths in manufacturing.
“With pharmaceutical research and development testing, researchers have to sit down and manually clean dyes from pills. It’s very inefficient. said Jared Voldness, Wood County Technical Center, professor of pre-engineering and computer science. “The repetitive nature of this task leads to carpal tunnel syndrome and also wastes time and money.”
Participating students from Wood County Technical Center were Lucian Baumgartner, Wyatt McCormick, Philip Richmond, Kyle Koch, Braxton Leisure, Michael Meyer, William Morrison, Riley Street and Mason Westfall.
“We mistakenly believe that young people are totally engulfed and lost in their mobile phones and social networks. Not true,” Linn Yost, owner of Micro Machine Works, said. “Given the exposure and opportunity to participate in real-world problem solving, they rise to the occasion and perform very well.”
Yost said don’t underestimate the youth.
“Give them the tools and opportunities to excel and they will exceed your expectations,” said Yost. “We are very impressed with the leadership, teamwork and skills of the Wood County Tech Center students involved in this project.”
Participating Micro Machine Works employees were Yost and Russ Kern.
“Today’s high school students will be tomorrow’s manufacturing workforce in West Virginia,” said program director Monica Cross.
Cross oversees the Explore the New Manufacturing program on behalf of the West Virginia Manufacturing Association Educational Fund’s efforts to educate and excite students about manufacturing careers and training opportunities for these positions in their areas.
“We are thrilled to have Carver Career & Technical Education Center and NGK Spark Plugs USA, Inc. to team up for this year’s challenge,” says Cross. “The real-world experience provides insight into a modern manufacturing environment that uses technology, problem-solving, creativity and communication skills they developed in school.”
Explore’s Manufacturing Innovation Challenge is designed for teams of high school students to solve real-world manufacturing problems faced by West Virginia manufacturers. Each challenge is unique and can arise from various aspects of business operations. Students learn how problem-solving skills are an essential part of job performance.
The challenge concludes with a formal team presentation, after which students and makers discuss the feasibility of implementing the solution. The experience illustrates how teamwork, adaptability and communication skills are used to implement industry solutions.
Explore the New Manufacturing is a program of the Education Fund of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, a 501(c)(3) organization. The program matches the workforce of tomorrow with local and regional manufacturing companies to inform students of education and career opportunities in the state’s manufacturing industry.
For more information, visit www.exploremfgwv.com.